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NASA picks four possible landing sites for next mission to Mars

NASA picks four possible Mars landing sites, none of them interesting (via The Christian Science Monitor) NASA has selected four semi-finalist landing plots for its 2016 mission to Mars.(NASA/JPL-Caltech ) NASA has whittled to four the number of potential landing sites for its 2016 mission to Mars. All of the…

Fukushima nuclear evacuation zone photos available online

New explorable images from the Japanese coast devastated by an enormous tsunami have been posted online, allowing web users to see how the disaster changed the area. The images, on Google’s Street View, include pictures of towns and villages near the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant where radiation levels are still…

It’s a girl! National Zoo reveals new panda cub’s gender

The giant panda cub born 13 days ago at the National Zoo in Washington is female and she has a live-in dad, the zoo said Thursday. “We have another girl in our family,” said research scientist Jesus Maldonado of the zoo’s genetics center as father Tian Tian lounged in the…

Privacy rights groups slam Facebook for turning user data into ad fodder

Facebook is drawing fire from privacy activists again, after unveiling a new policy which could turn users’ data and pictures into advertising. The new plan would “dramatically expand the use of personal information for advertising purposes,” said a letter this week to the US Federal Trade Commission by six privacy…

Conservatives upset as San Antonio extends protections to LGBT residents

The city council in San Antonio, Texas, voted on Thursday to extend its non-discrimination ordinance to cover members of the LGBT communities, amid continued objections by conservatives accusing the policy of violating their religious freedom. The San Antonio Express News reported that the council voted 8-3 in favor of the…

LGBT advocates criticize DC Comics for forbidding marriage for lesbian superhero

DC Comics, already criticized earlier this year for hiring noted author Orson Scott Card to write stories featuring flagship character Superman, is being knocked again by LGBT advocates for refusing to depict a same-sex marriage in the award-winning comic Batwoman. Pop culture site IO9 reported that the series’ current creative…

Alec Baldwin gets his own Friday night talk show on MSNBC

Rumors that Alec Baldwin was in talks to have his own program on MSNBC were confirmed on Thursday, after the network announced the liberal actor would be hosting a current events and culture talk show on Friday nights. “After two seasons of my WNYC podcast, I’ve developed a fondness for…

Where is the world’s biggest volcano? On the floor of the Pacific, geologists find

Geologists on Thursday announced they had uncovered a stupendous volcano that is the biggest in the world and rivals the greatest in the Solar System. Dubbed Tamu Massif, the volcano is part of the Shatsky Rise, a deep plateau on the floor of the Pacific located around 1,600 kilometres (1,000…

NFL players are not allowed to smoke marijuana, but one group hopes to change that

It’s not often that people feel sorry for NFL players. With even the lowest-paid rookies earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, they live a life that most fans could only dream of. But in the states of Colorado and Washington, the general public enjoy at least one privilege…

New Zealand working to create the world’s largest ocean sanctuary

New Zealand said on Thursday it may revise its plans to create the world’s largest ocean sanctuary off Antarctica after they were blocked by Russia earlier this year, amid concerns the proposal may be scaled-back. The plan for a 1.6 million square kilometre (640,000 square mile) fishing-free haven in the…

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